Intel's botched McAfee acquisition

The man who founded his namesake software security company is a total conundrum, and the company remains one, too.

By Jim Cramer Dec 6, 2012 10:08AM

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Datacraft Co Ltd imagenavi Getty ImagesEvery time I hear something about John McAfee, which, given this crazy man's predilection for nonstop publicity, is too often, I think about how Intel paid $7.7 billion a little more than two years ago for the software security company that this oddball created. And I wonder which actions, John McAfee's or Intel's (INTC) are more stupefying.


McAfee (MFE) had been shopped for ages, apparently about as long as the ignominious Autonomy had been, before Intel gave shareholders a 62% premium when it snapped up the company. At the time, it was a real head-scratcher.


What was the point of the semiconductor company moving aggressively into security software when the real issue it faced was the mobility challenge, and the secondary issue it faced was the Apple (AAPL) challenge, meaning how would it be able to get more content into the fastest-growing tech gadget company on the planet?


At the time, Apple had made a decision that it was going to base its new mobile products on chips designed by Arm Holdings (ARMH), not Intel, even as Intel had some exposure to iMacs and we thought that the two companies had a decent working relationship.

Subsequently, we have learned two things. First, Steve Jobs didn't care for Intel. We know from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography that even though Jobs was friendly with former Intel CEO Andy Grove, he thought the company was stodgy and very difficult to work with. Just different DNA. Second, Jobs was constantly trying to stop the battery drain, believing, correctly, that the longer you could go without recharging the more satisfied you would be, and Arm Holdings' chips gave you a longer battery life than Intel's.


Now here's the irony. Intel could have paid roughly the same price for Arm Holdings as it did for McAfee. Since then, Arm shares have doubled, as the Apple orders keep flowing. Intel? It's done almost nothing, and the McAfee acquisition almost seems like an afterthought when the company talks.


The real tragedy for Intel here is that Samsung, Apple's chief rival globally, is also a major chip supplier to Apple. They are suing each other all over the place. There is palpable dislike. You would think that this would be the moment that Intel could step up and make the chips that Apple needs, and it has mobility chips that are used in white label Intel phones in emerging markets all over the globe.


But it lacks the foothold that Arm would have given it, and McAfee certainly can't.


Worse now, on Wednesday we heard rumors that Apple may replace Intel in its Mac line. Again, if Intel owned Arm it would be far more difficult for the company to be dislodged from the Apple food chain.


McAfee, the, man is a total conundrum. McAfee, the company, remains one, too. A botched acquisition and an overpay instead of one that would have levered Intel to the greatest tech company of all time.


Just baffling moves all the way around.


JimCramer's face


Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust and is long AAPL.  



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Dec 7, 2012 12:46AM

The NO NADS....Legislature and Governor passed  the RTW ACT in Michigan or they will.....

Hello Mississippi......Idiots.

Dec 6, 2012 6:00PM
"— Police used chemical spray Thursday to subdue protesters trying to rush the Michigan Senate chamber after Gov. Rick Snyder and other Republican leaders announced they would press for quick approval of right-to-work legislation limiting union powers.

Eight people were arrested for resisting and obstructing when they tried to push past two troopers guarding the Senate door, state police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said. The Capitol was temporarily closed because of safety concerns.

So-called right-to-work measures generally prohibit requiring unions from collecting fees from nonunion employees, which opponents say drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it would boost the economy and job creation."

Retailers like Macy's should be particularly opposed to the sly legislative terrorism afoot here in Michigan. First, the union dues and membership become voluntary. Then, as the ranks dwindle the swindlers on top making 500 TIMES current union pay... then mandate a dollar an hour wage or the door. WHO do you go to when the union is gone? People who make a dollar an hour are unable to buy what they make much less shop at a Macy's. Wake up, America... you opposed a loser like Romney in the White House but it was only ONE of the many many conspiracies of a False Elitist Class attempting the take-over of America by a New World Order. We don't want or need a New World Order, we want a level playing field! These losers didn't start anything from scratch- including Snyder, former CEO of Gateway. He used a village to build a brand then fired 30,000 and sold the brand to an Asian business. They got SQUAT. He got a LOT. We want and need Republicans fleeing America for sanctuary someplace else. Know why? Because there is NO PLACE that wants a New World Order. Time for change... change out who gets rowed and who better pick up a oar and join the rest of us in recovery.
Dec 6, 2012 5:33PM

Figure ABS will come later....We are going to a Casino...A little Celebration of sorts.


Yes the Markets/Indices up nicely...Or not in the Red..


But several Equities were up very nice...And as always some were down a little.


Dec 6, 2012 4:50PM
Are you watching the Dow rise up as we approach the final bell? That's grubbers building a ramp so they can soar off the fiscal cliff and crash faster than the rest of us. BONZAI!!! Oh, I said the wrong word... PONZI!!!
Dec 6, 2012 4:42PM

ABS....Now I assume you will probably go back over my comments, and cherry-pick the ones that fit your ideals and not necessarily mine....


Have fun we are just short, of 8000 of them....

I should tell you my "old handle" from a few years back, think I had about 2000 then...BUT mostly only discussed investments or had questions for others..Think I did mention the old name awhile back.

The good old days...

I don't believe they have archives from then...??? 

Dec 6, 2012 4:35PM

Guess, I'm glad that I've really got you confused, ABS.....Those little nuggets of wisdom and blather that  I have interjected over a period of time, have really got guys like you in a complete disarray of who I am or really like....Of course a few things are somewhat true....Pretty hard to lie about everything, because it's fairly easy to trip up a liar sooner or later..


But you can believe what you want....That's the FUN PART.

Dec 6, 2012 4:21PM

And DLH.....They take you serious?...LMFAO.


Brothers of the Feather or same Father ?? ABS, DLH, Crazy, Randall, Classic, Comnutz and a couple others....


You all lost....And you're still pissed about it..... LMAO.....booooyahhhhhhhh!!!!

Dec 6, 2012 4:05PM

ahm a teabag wit mah guns and my jeeeesuus and ahm gunna tell women what to do wit der

bodies and also cure some uh dem queers..........michele bachman sarah palin and rush limbaugh

is what we need to take our country back...............(yea right back to 1500's christian rule)

Dec 6, 2012 3:46PM
It no longer matters who gets elected.  Ultimately, everyone can choose for themselves what federal regulation they want to follow and whether they want to pay federal taxes.

This thing is coming apart and the enforcement systems for most regulations will not be tenable.  We have already been trending back to the underlying principle of our federal government.  It exists at the discretion of the states.

Obama, Hillary, Van Hollen, another Bush, etc --- are nothing more that unwitting comedians for our amusement.  WE ARE ALREADY FREE --- just a matter of awakening to what is already there (or not there)

Dec 6, 2012 3:24PM
Four more years of President Obama and then 8 years of President Hilary Clinton will be so much fun to watch all these teabaggers heads explode with rage over the next 12 years ........I can just picture most of these haters sh*ttin in their panties and drooling in their electric scooters by the time they see a repub in the WH.

12 more years 'baggers .....  ; )
Dec 6, 2012 2:36PM
That's absolutely great news! Jim DeMint leaving the Senate to start a conservative think tank. That guy is one true nut job....the tea party loses another voice in the Congress. Maybe he can give Joe Walsh of Illinois and Allen West of Florida both jobs in his think tank.....two other nut jobs that lost their seats in November. Whoopi and Ya Hooey!!!!!
Dec 6, 2012 2:31PM
The axis of irresponsibility continues

 - OBAMA - needs to raise $40 million to party on inauguration day while America deteriorates and he sets up for yet another straw dog war; this time in Syria
 - BOEHNER - ready to raise taxes to keep the spending party going in a futile attempt to keep the Republican party alive.
 - DRAGHI - keeping that ECB printing press going to prop up failed European big government.
 - NOTRE DAME - it's war on women continues as it covers up and silences those who speak out about the rape of Lizzy Seeberg by a ND football player and her subsequent death.
Dec 6, 2012 2:20PM
Every liberal koolaid drinker in Washington is standing outside looking up in the sky. Where's the bacon?? ........ oh I mean where's the pot?
Dec 6, 2012 2:18PM

ABS....Don't you have to takes Meds in the morning or something..???


Not going to comment on list of lay-offs or closures...No sense in doing so.


Although we may agree about certain personal agendas, or perceptions.


We seem to have different motives of expression most times...

Oh, BTW....Unions have not been the downfall of this once great Country...Guess again.

Dec 6, 2012 1:18PM

Ahhh, Michigan..The voters of that State have once again been duped, by what has always been a Republican plot for Big Business...Before this, believe it was Wisconsin.?


In Michigan, it was the Election of a "very-pro business" type smooth-slow talking,smiley, ex-business Exec....About 2 years ago...Snyder ?? Maybe Dell Computer ?

Then there were several propositions on their ballots in the last election in November...Mostly with anti-union themes in a majority of them...Most passed.

Feeling the time was right, because of Union sentiment around the Country..

The new Governor a Republican, says he may not support a Right-to-Work Legislation..bullshidt.

He just wants to get it out of the way, and move on with important matters.. bullshidt.

Well, MiddleClass and workers of Michigan, Welcome to the likes of Tennessee, places like Alambama, Mississippi and Louisianna....You have even approved YOUR DOWNFALL.

Soon you will be known as a lost Red State... 

Dec 6, 2012 1:06PM
McAfee was a bad acquisition for Intel from the get go. I have done business with McAfee and they are a very screwed up environment and not well run. I do not have a love for Apple and I think their competitors are going to chip away at their popularity in the marketplace. I personally would not have an Apple product with their proprietary software/OS not very compatible with any other software in the business space. 
Dec 6, 2012 1:03PM

Hillary meeting with the Russians on Syria and CNN's headline story is

"If Pot Falls From the Sky You Can Have It" ........... priceless.

Dec 6, 2012 12:35PM
"Updated 11:07 a.m. - South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, an influential Republican who has helped prod his party rightward, will step down from his seat in January to become the next director of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank."

I think the LAST THING on Earth the world needs is a conservative think tank. How do we get RID of these pariah associations?
Dec 6, 2012 12:31PM
The repub leaders (industrial billionaires)  won't be happy until we are working for scrip and shopping at the company store once more .....they do a great job of keeping their underclass more concerned about other peoples reproductive rights and bedroom activities than they are about their own welfare.......

I always laugh when I see fat people in electric scooters paid for by medicaid and medicare railing against welfare and government spending .....everyone hates handouts unless they are the one getting the handout 'cos ...."hell I paid for it"....

If it was not for collective bargaining in the past there would be no middle class now.
Dec 6, 2012 12:28PM
"McAfee, the, man is a total conundrum. McAfee, the company, remains one, too. A botched acquisition and an overpay instead of one that would have levered Intel to the greatest tech company of all time."

McAfee the man is under arrest for murder in a country that has a Death Penalty. McAfee the company intrudes by piggybacking on necessary software updates. It's a pariah like so much stuff pushed on us. Obviously, a lack of morals and ethics transitions from man to machine through this device.
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